Express file photo

Coldest Night of The Year taking place soon to raise funds for The Mustard Seed

Walk takes place in Red Deer Feb. 23rd

The Coldest Night of the Year, scheduled for Feb. 23rd outside of The Mustard Seed, is a family-friendly walk-a-thon that will help The Mustard Seed to raise funds to serve the hungry, homeless and hurting.

The walk is done in 136 communities across Canada during the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

Registration opens at 4 p.m. on Feb. 23rd, and includes a light snack, tour of The Mustard Seed and a meal at the end. Walkers are then released at about 5:15 p.m. on their choice of a two kilometre, five kilometre or 10 kilometre route.

There will be a rest stop for walkers at Hope Mission and route marshals will be on the route to assist.

“Everyone is welcome. Walkers range in age from toddlers with parents to active seniors,” said Scott Tilbury, fund development officer with the Red Deer Mustard Seed.

There is no fee for kids under 10 and youth 11 to 17 fundraise $75 or pay a registration fee of $40. Adults can fundraise $150 or register for $40.

“By walking at dusk during a cold winter’s night Red Deerians will feel a hint of the challenge faced by those experiencing homelessness during winter.”

By fundraising, he said, walkers will contribute much needed money to bring hope and well-being to the most vulnerable citizens.

“Events like this provide an opportunity for us to educate citizens. Every person experiencing homelessness has a unique story to tell.”

He added that Red Deerians have expressed a great desire to learn more about the factors that cause homelessness and poverty.

“We’ve been getting a lot of questions. There are common misconceptions and stigmas surrounding homelessness due to a lack of awareness and understanding of the underlying causes,” said Tilbury.

Last year’s event brought in just over $30,000 however Tilbury doesn’t expect as much this year due to the Canada Winter Games taking place. He said that many of the walkers have volunteered to participate in the Games, so this year’s goal is set to $20,000.

“We hope that some athletes will participate,” said Tilbury.

This year marks the third year of the event in Red Deer.

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